Guest post by Steven Goddard
(UK Pic Photo: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response)
In my last article, I discussed the current theory that global warming is going to turn England into a tropical paradise. And ten years ago we were told by The Met Office that “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” But five years ago the theory was that global warming will turn England into a frozen wasteland.
THE Gulf Stream currents that give Britain its mild climate have weakened dramatically, offering the first firm scientific evidence of a slowdown that threatens the country with temperatures as cold as Canada’s.
The Atlantic Ocean “conveyor belt” that carries warm water north from the tropics has weakened by 30 per cent in 12 years, scientists have discovered. The findings, from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, give the strongest indication yet that Europe’s central heating system is breaking down under the impact of global warming.
Scientists have long predicted that melting ice caps could disrupt the currents that keep Britain at least 5C (40F) warmer than it should be, but the new research suggests that this is already under way. It points to a cooling of 1C over the next decade or two, and an even deeper freeze could follow if the Gulf Stream system were to shut down altogether.
The British Isles lie on the same latitude as Labrador on the East Coast of Canada, and are protected from a similarly icy climate by the Atlantic conveyor belt, which carries a million billion watts of heat. Although oceanographers still think it unlikely that the currents will stop completely, this could reduce average temperatures by between 4C and 6C in as little as 20 years, far outweighing any increase predicted as a result of global warming.
What the scientists were saying is that the melting Arctic is going to flood the North Atlantic with cold fresh water, and will slow down the Gulf Stream. The BBC explained it like this :
Global Warming will cause the Greenland ice cap to melt which, when combined with increased rainfall at high latitudes, will potentially disrupt the THC by adding freshwater and decreasing sea water salinity in the North Atlantic…. Winters would be much colder than now “along the lines of the winter of 1962-1963” suggests Jenkins, with summers being cooler and shorter. This would have many social implications including (not surprisingly!) transport and agriculture. 3-4°C may not sound much, but the average air temperature difference between the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ when vineyards thrived in southern England and the ‘Little Ice Age’ when the River Thames regularly froze over was only 1-2°C.
The Guardian explained it like this:
“Based on climate simulations we think that UK winters would be around 5-10C colder on average if the Gulf Stream shut down,” says Michael Vellinga, of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. For those who can remember back that far, this would make the average UK winter feel more like 1963, when February temperatures hovered around -5 C.
So here is the climate cycle timeline:
- 2000 – Snowfalls are a thing of the past in Britain
- 2005 – Britain to turn into a frozen wasteland
- 2010 – Britain to become a tropical paradise like Portugal
Climate science in England shows a statistically significant cycle, alternating between tropical forecasts and ice age forecasts every five years.
What do readers think?